Analysis: Did Casey Anthony's Lawyers Save Her From Death Penalty?

Lawyers had mixed success in establishing key elements of defense strategy.

ByABC News
June 30, 2011, 3:08 PM

June 30, 2011— -- Casey Anthony's defense team rested its case today after trying with mixed success to implicate her father and meter reader Roy Kronk in disposing of the body of Caylee Anthony, two men who are at the center of their strategy to save Casey Anthony from a death sentence.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, and conviction could result in her execution.

The most debated tactic of her defense team was to keep her off the stand.

"The jury will be given very specific instructions, you cannot hold it against her that she's not testifying," said ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. "But I am certain these jurors are going to be thinking, 'Why didn't she testify?'"

In his opening statement, defense lawyer Jose Baez laid out a strategy that began with the bombshell claims that Caylee drowned in the family pool, that her body was found by her grandfather George Anthony who then helped dispose of the body.

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Casey Anthony lied for months about her daughter's death because she was "trained to lie" through years of sexual abuse by her father and brother, Baez stated.

Baez may have succeeded in raising doubts about George Anthony's integrity by having Krystal Holloway testify on the last day of the defense. Holloway claimed to have had a year-long affair with George Anthony and told the court that while people were still searching for Caylee, George Anthony confided to her that "it was an accident that snowballed out of control," indicating that he knew Caylee was already dead.

George Anthony laughed at the suggestion that he had an affair with Holloway or that he hid Caylee's body. While her testimony may have raised doubts about the general truthfulness of George Anthony, it did not address the specific claim that he buried Caylee's body.

The defense also did not succeed in establishing its claim that George Anthony molested his daughter. The issue was barely raised in the trial and when it was, George Anthony sharply denied it.

"There is not an iota of evidence that he took the body or that he abused his daughter," Abrams said.

Casey Anthony Trial Evidence Photos

Baez also did not ever say what George Anthony allegedly did with Caylee's body, if he had helped hide it, or why he would hide Caylee's body if she drowned in an accident.

Roy Kronk, who found Caylee's body, was also attacked by Baez who described Kronk in his opening statement as a "morally bankrupt" person who put Caylee's body near the Anthony home in hopes of collecting a reward.

The lawyer had the meter reader's son tell the court that his estranged father called him before Caylee's body was found to brag that he knew where Caylee's body was, and that he was going to be famous and rich.

Kronk denied that conversation ever took place and prosecutors succeeded in raising some confusion about whether the son had his dates correct.

What the defense did not broach, however, was how Kronk allegedly came into possession of the little girl's body.

If Kronk did move the body, that would provide the defense with the argument that all of the evidence found with the body -- particularly the duct tape on Caylee's face that prosecutors allege was used to help kill her -- was no longer admissible.

Other elements of the defense argument were meant to bolster its contention that Caylee drowned. They established that the girl loved going in the family's above-ground pool and showed pictures of Caylee climbing up the pool's ladder.

Caylee's grandmother, Cindy Anthony, testified that she would always hold Caylee with a "light touch" as the toddler climbed up the pool's ladder, but that the growing little girl was able to climb the ladder on her own. Caylee was instructed with strict rules not to go to the pool without an adult.

Cindy Anthony was upset to find the ladder in place on June 16, 2008, the day Caylee allegedly drowned. She said that she always put the ladder up when the family was done swimming.

The defense still argues that the prosecution's case is circumstantial.